November 6, 2013
Account of an exceptional mission
I remember seeing the film Operation Amsterdam as a 12 - 13 yr old and finding it one of the most exciting movies I'd watched. Only later trying to retrace memories of youth did (with the help of Mr Google) did I find and read the book by Walsh.
Walsh's book is not impressive as a piece of literature, but is impressive as an account of a exceptional mission very early in WWII. For the mission to take place a few unlikley threads had to come together; (a) authorities in UK had to hear and believe the concerns raised by a single citizen, appreciate the danger of industrial diamonds falling into German hands, and then react within a small window of time; (b) Churchill then authorised at short notice, a destroyer for 1 day to take a team across the channel; (c) the team arrived without support had to find a way to get through the chaos to Amsterdam; (d) convince the diamond traders to release their stocks within a few hours and without garantees; (e) negotiate the confusion of multiple players (Germans, militia, etc) as Amsterdam fell; (f) and finally get back in time to be taken off by the destroyer.
Worthwhile account of a one-off mission that is buried under all the other stores of the war.